Finding Your Voice through Creativity:
The Art and Journaling Workbook for Disordered Eating

by Mindy Jacobson-Levy and Maureen Foy-Tornay

Gurze Books, 2010. ISBN 978-0-936-07730-7.
Reviewed by Lee Ambrose
Posted on 03/17/2011

Nonfiction: Life Lessons; Nonfiction: Creative Life

I am always interested in new techniques for self-discovery and expression of my creative nature. I chose to review this book on the merits of its title, not its sub-title. I hoped (and was not disappointed) that it would contain suggestions that would be helpful for other forms of affirmation, insight and self-expression. To quote the authors, "If you're interested in connecting to your inner voice and listening to what it has to say, then this book is for you."

The premise is that individual creativity "Connects us to our inner voice.. According to the authors, "Art bypasses the flow of thoughts and words that continually run through our heads." In other words, art interrupts the internal critic. The writing portion of the journal is intended to augment the primary form of self-expression - the artistic images created on the page.

In order to do the exercises outlined in this workbook, one need not be an artist. The only requirement, it seems to me, is that the individual needs to sincerely want to journey to self. A few basic art supplies that are readily available almost anywhere are required. That brief list can be found on page 10 in the introduction of the book. Because each chapter is a building block for what comes next, readers are encouraged to work the pages in order.

Eleven chapters, each with a particular focus, guide the reader through small steps that build upon one another to form a more complete and insightful view of self. Each chapter has several exercises - each with its own focus and all the necessary instructions you'll need to complete the pages. Some techniques were not new to me - but sometimes it is good to revisit forms of expression such as "Life Events Time Line," "This is Me Collage," "Abstract Self-Portrait." "The Letter You Would Never Send," and "Reframing Your Life," Authors Jacobson-Levy and Foy-Tornay have created an artistic GPS - so to speak - guiding individuals right into their own hearts. Some techniques were new to me, which only added to the sense of creative energy I felt from this book.

The authors had my attention right from the beginning with "Let's Be Selfish for a Minute." The opening lines state "This chapter is about you. How often do you take the time to think about yourself?" I knew then that I was going to have opportunities to do some serious self-exploration. Chapter Two encouraged me to "walk through my heart" and be mindful of what I would find if I were to do so. Each successive chapter provided familiar forms of self-expression, accompanied by multiple new techniques.

Mindy Jacobson-Levy is a Board Certified, registered art psychotherapist and a licensed professional counselor in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She supervises graduate students from Drexel University's Creative Arts in Therapy Program. She has received the Honorary Lifetime Member Award from the Delaware Valley Art Therapy Association. In her private practice, she specializes in eating disorders, women's issues, depression and trauma/dissociation.

Maureen Foy-Tornay is a Board Certified, registered art psychotherapist and licensed professional counselor at Philadelphia University. She is a clinical supervisor for the Creative Arts in Therapy graduate students at Drexel University. She specializes in eating disorders, depression and trauma. She utilizes visualization, art and journaling in treatment settings.

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